Download English 10: Macbeth- Commentary Practice MACBETH: To be thus

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English 10: Macbeth- Commentary Practice
To be thus is nothing,
But to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo
Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature
Reigns that which would be feared. 'Tis much he dares,
And to that dauntless temper of his mind
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valor
To act in safety. There is none but he
Whose being I do fear, and under him
My genius is rebuked, as it is said
Mark Antony’s was by Caesar. He chid the sisters
When first they put the name of king upon me
And bade them speak to him. Then, prophetlike,
They hailed him father to a line of kings.
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown
And put a barren scepter in my grip,
Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding. If ’t be so,
For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;
For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered;
Put rancors in the vessel of my peace
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
Given to the common enemy of man,
To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
Rather than so, come fate into the list,
And champion me to th' utterance.
Introduction: Briefly set the passage in context. • What has happened? What is happening? Who is Macbeth speaking to? What does this speech show about his state of mind? • What central idea does this passage convey? Body Paragraphs: Use these guiding questions to help focus and organize your ideas. • What is Macbeth’s attitude towards Banquo and how does Shakespeare show this? • Why does Macbeth say he has a “fruitless crown” (line 14)? Find other similar images in this passage and explain how they reveal Macbeth’s thoughts about his crown and Banquo. • What is the effect of the final couplet? What is shown about Macbeth’s character? Conclusion: So what? Sum up the significance of the passage. • Conclusion: What changes in Macbeth do we see in this passage? • How does this relate to our world in some way? Be brief! Sample #1 Student Analysis: Prior to this passage, Macbeth has heard the prophecies from the witches with Banquo. These prophecies caused Macbeth to follow his ambition and kill King Duncan, which leads him to becoming king. In this soliloquy, Macbeth is thinking about the power of Banquo and is convincing himself that Banquo needs to be killed. Macbeth fears that he will lose his crown, and this passage shows that he is becoming more bloodthirsty and will do anything to keep his throne. Although Macbeth slightly admires Banquo, he convinces himself to kill him to protect what he believes is rightfully his. Shakespeare uses many literary techniques to emphasize Macbeth’s feelings towards Banquo. Parallelism is used in line 1, “to be thus us nothing, but to be safely thus,” to convey how much Macbeth has given to gain the crown. “Thus” is an interesting choice of diction as it is very ambiguous. It not only refers to Macbeth being king, but also of him being a murderer. Macbeth’s fear of Banquo “stick deep” which is a metaphor comparing fears to roots. Macbeth confesses how his fears will never go away unless he commits a hideous crime against Banquo. Shakespeare uses personification to describe Banquo who has “a wisdom” that can “guide his valour” (6). Macbeth recognizes that Banquo is a formidable enemy and possesses the wisdom that Macbeth does not have to gain the crown. Macbeth, despite being afraid of Banquo, is also extremely overconfident, as he believes that “there is none but (Banquo), whose being I do fear” (8). This is ironic because it is Macduff, not Banquo, who will lead Macbeth to his demise. In a sense, Macbeth also has to fear his own ambitions as well as his arrogance, as they give him a false sense of security. Shakespeare alludes to Caesar’s death by Mark Antony to foreshadow Macbeth’s end. Macbeth also compares himself to Caesar, which also shows that he is extremely arrogant. Macbeth is convincing himself to kill Banquo by describing the dangers to his throne, which he will do anything to protect. Shakespeare uses garden imagery to describe Banquo’s danger to Macbeth, and Macbeth’s fears of losing his crown. Shakespeare uses a metaphor to compare Macbeth’s “fruitless crown” (14) to a tree, which cannot bear fruit. This emphasizes Macbeth’s ascension to the throne if his children don’t continue his linage. The diction, “barren,” “wrenched,” and “unlineal” (15-­‐16) is very powerful. Macbeth portrays Banquo as an evil villain who will take his crown away. Macbeth is so concentrated solely on the continuation of his crown that he does not even reflect on the evil deeds that he has done. In this passage, it is also evident that Macbeth has begun to de-­‐evolve and become evil. He uses a simile to describe the three witches as being “prophet-­‐like”. This shows that Macbeth almost reveres and worships the witches as being powerful and all knowing. Macbeth has lost his morality to his ambitions, and because of that, he will stop at nothing to protect what he has gained. The murders that Macbeth has committed have not only cost him his morality but his peace of mind as well. He describes his mind as distilled, which is a powerful choice of diction. This also foreshadows the future hallucinations that Macbeth will have to endure. Macbeth also describes how his “eternal jewel (has been) given to the common enemy of man.” Macbeth knows that he will face retribution for breaking the Chain of Being not only in the afterlife, but on earth as well. Macbeth worries that he has done all this just so Banquo’s children can become kings. The final couplet shows the lengths that Macbeth will go to until his death. He will challenge “Fate,” and personifies it, describing a joust with it. This couplet refers back to the prophecies that the three witches gave. Macbeth’s prophecy came true by his own doing, and Macbeth is afraid that Banquo’s prophecy will come true as well. Macbeth will “champion” fate to “th’utterance” (25) and this foreshadows Macbeth’s coming death. Although Macbeth has already lost much of his morality, he has gained much abundance of determination to protect what he believes is rightfully his. Macbeth has changed from a man who has committed murder on the will of his wife to one who will do anything he believes is necessary. He has lost his morality at the cost of his ambition and has descended into evil. Macbeth no longer consults Lady Macbeth before killing and has grown even stronger than her. This passage relates to the theme of how ambitions without morals will lead to terrible deeds. Macbeth’s unrestrained ambitions will provoke many more deaths, and eventually, the death of himself. This passage is somewhat a reminiscent of the wars countries conduct to fight for what they believe is “right”. Sample #2 Student Analysis: Insight Look Into Macbeth VS. Banquo The Scottish play, Macbeth, is a story set on Macbeth’s ascendancy to the throne through sabotage and trickery. In section 3.1 in the play includes a soliloquy from Macbeth about his fear in Banquo. This is the beginning of a series of irrational and gruesome manslaughter. This passage shows a theme of ambition and equivocation. Through the use of literary techniques such as imagery, metaphor, and allusions, Shakespeare depicts Macbeth as an insecure and paranoid tyrant. In the beginning of this scene, Macbeth invites Banquo to a banquet held at night, being courteous and polite. As soon as Banquo leaves, Macbeth renounces his true intentions-­‐ to kill Banquo and secure his throne. The audience is introduced to a new side of Macbeth, a side of fear and insecurity. Macbeth begins with a statement using juxtaposition, and immediately shows off his insecurity. “To be [king] is nothing. But to be safely [king].” Shakespeare uses this to emphasize on the word ‘safely’, displaying Macbeth feeling threatened. Shakespeare also uses metaphor to show Macbeth’s fear of Banquo. Macbeth compares his fear to a sword, saying, “Our fears in Banquo, stick deep.” This could be a foretelling of what Macbeth will do to Banquo. It also causes the audience to feel how Macbeth’s fear could be dangerous. The use of contrast where Banquo’s “wisdom guide[s] his valour,” shows Macbeth’s admiration towards Banquo. Also, Shakespeare uses this to shift the blame towards Macbeth by displaying Banquo as a wise and virtuous man and Macbeth as a bitter monarch. The repetition of the words “he” and “him” is very common in this passage. Even though this passage is about Banquo, twice Macbeth only utters his name. Shakespeare does this to show how Macbeth cannot face Banquo and paints the feeling of fear. Macbeth’s refusal to say the word “Banquo”, yet addresses him as “he”, puts emphasis on Macbeth’s tortured feelings towards Banquo. On the last part of the soliloquy, Macbeth expresses bitter jealousy about the witches’ predictions about Banquo. The theme of the supernatural is to show Macbeth’s discomfort towards fate. Macbeth uses juxtaposition when comparing Banquo to Duncan, using “for”, “For Banquo”, and “For them”. Macbeth feel as if he were a puppet, being used by Banquo. This creates irony, as we know that Banquo has been none but virtuous and loyal. The audience, instead of sympathizing with Macbeth, would feel that he deserves his state of paranoia. Through diction, metaphors, and juxtaposition, Macbeth’s resentment towards Banquo is clearly shown. Macbeth also transitions to his lineage, expressing jealousy of Banquo’s ‘seeds’, yet he has a ‘fruitless crown’. The use of garden imagery is common in the play of Macbeth. Shakespeare uses metaphors to compare his lineage to harvesting plants. The use of diction “fruitless” and “barren” shows that Macbeth is not contempt with his current state and feels threatened by fate. “For them, the gracious Duncan I have murdered”. Such a line shows irony when Macbeth questions the benefit of killing Duncan. Shakespeare does this to show the audience that sabotage only returns to plague the inventor. Macbeth, the play, is a moral story to show how ambition could destroy anyone. Shakespeare also uses a hyperbole to depict Banquo’s successors as “them” in contrast to Macbeth as “I”. Macbeth seems so unimportant and small as “they” outnumber him, as if he was merely a steppingstone to a great generation of kings. This passage also foretells when Macbeth visits the witches and he was shown “a line of kings.” Macbeth’s bewildered reaction shows his desperation as ambition consumes him. The last couplet of the play is a dramatic and bold ending. Macbeth challenges fate in a duel. Shakespeare uses this Metaphor to depict Macbeth’s determination to be king. “Champion me to th’utterance.” In a duel, there can only be one winner, and the other one destroyed. Shakespeare uses this to show the audience that Macbeth is fully on board and there will be no backing out or remorse. This is also a hyperbole of Macbeth passing on to a point of no return, thus spurting this play to a new climax. Through Macbeth’s soliloquy of Banquo, Shakespeare effectively introduces a paranoid and irrational Macbeth, as he slowly disintegrates from our first impression of him. Macbeth is evolving into the mad tyrant that we would see at the end of the play. Shakespeare uses the theme of ambition, witchcraft, and trickery to show us that there will not be good consequences.